Rivers of Blood

colgoo's picture

Rivers of Blood

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Liner Notes: 

Cindy Prince wrote a lovely poem about Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of Little Bighorn in Montana, June 1876. I really liked it, but felt it needed a little more context and breadth for a song. So, with her permission, I broke the poem into verse one, a bridge and a chorus and then built out two more verses and adjusted the bridges.

As a scholar who focused on Native American history, it was hard to narrow down instances of injustice to highlight. I could have brought in stories from New England, Jamestown, Trail of Tears and on and on....

I chose to focus on two other instances where Native Americans seemed to achieve a victory, only to be ignored by U.S. leaders. Having lived on the Navajo reservation, I chose "The Long Walk" of 1864. And, I chose a recent example that would be fresh on many people's minds: the Standing Rock protests of 2016-2017.

Lyrics: 

Rivers of Blood
By: Cindy Prince and Colleen Goodsell

1. When I look across the sad, blowing grass
I see the horses fall; I hear the cries.
I wipe my eyes and see the river run red.
It hurts my head to feel so much death,
to hear the brave's last breath
And see his blood run free.

Bridge: I want to scream with the pain I feel
Pounding hooves on the grassy hill
Pounding now in my heart, that's torn apart,
With an arrow. Oh, the sorrow!

Chorus: The sorrow that lives in the grass
In the wind, in the mud.
It still lives on in the rushing river of blood.

2. When I listen to the winds blow in the canyons of New Mexico;
I see the Long Walk: chains, stolen stock,
soldiers scorch the lands
Force marching bands of Navajo men,
women and children.
Starving. Howling for food.

Bridge: I want to scream with the pain I feel
Wind whistling through red-rocked hills
Whistling now in my heart, that's torn apart
With an arrow. Oh, the sorrow!

Chorus

3. When I see on the news: the Lakota Sioux trying to undo
A pipeline of oil through their native soil. Standing like rock,
In the mud and muck. Soldiers stare them down, kick them out of town...
Beaten down once again.

Bridge: I want to scream with the pain I feel
Pounding hooves on a muddy hill.
Pounding now in my heart, that's torn apart,
With an arrow. Oh, the sorrow!

Chorus



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Comments

cindyrella's picture

Thanks so much for doing this! I love the ways you expanded this and include other tragic times. So moving-perfect!

cindyrella's picture

Now with the music and your amazing vocals! In some ways your vocals reminds me of the wind-wow! Thank you so much!